This week, an image showing a woman transforming after reading a book has been shared across social media.
The drawing shows a tanned, blonde woman in heels and a dress slowly transforming into a pale, dark-haired woman in jeans, thanks to a book.
Many people have said they find the cartoon offensive because of its perceived stereotyping of women.
However, the artist behind the piece, who is known on DeviantArt as Sortimid, says the art is part of an erotic niche called "bimbo transformation."
According to Sortimid, this fetish can take many forms, but usually involves "hyper-feminine, hyper-sexualized caricature." They say it can be humorous and lighthearted, or a lot darker in content.
It can involve men transforming into women too.
Sortimid says that the viral cartoon was a commissioned piece for someone who wanted to see this transformation in reverse. They did not expect the art to be seen outside of the transformation porn community.
The artist has clarified their feelings in the caption on the piece's DeviantArt page, and followers have used the comments to voice their support.
While the cartoon was intended for a specific client, Sortimid understands the reaction to it.
"Perhaps it was naïve of me to assume it was 'just another transformation.' People don't see it as 'porn' so they assume it must be a statement. Their criticism is valid. I apologize for advancing those stereotypes. I strive to create erotica that is both sexy and feminist. It seems, in this case, I have failed spectacularly and for that, I apologize. If there's anything I can do to make up for it, please let me know."
Rachael Krishna is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Rachael Krishna at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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